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#ThirdLoveStories: Betsy Nilan

As a company that’s by women, for women, we’re constantly seeking new ways to spotlight stellar females who inspire us. This series is an opportunity to celebrate the ThirdLove community and share their incredible stories.

(Photo by: Em Rehm)

Meet Betsy Nilan, President of The Get In Touch Foundation, a global breast health nonprofit that seeks to save lives through education and advocacy. Read on to find out how she got involved with the organization, the story behind her pink hair, and more ahead.

What inspired you to do what you're doing now?

My entire life has revolved around breasts and empowering women and girls, so it is no surprise I stand behind ThirdLove as a loyal customer.

Three years ago, I stepped up as President of The Get In Touch Foundation after my mom and our Founder passed away from breast cancer.

The Get In Touch Foundation is a global breast health nonprofit that strives to make breast self-exams simple, appropriate, and routine for all through our Daisy Wheel tool. Our Daisy Wheel educates on the eight steps necessary of performing a breast self-exam and is provided free to schools in all 50 states and 34 different countries, touching the lives of over one million students globally.

My mom taught me how to perform a breast self-exam after her diagnosis 15 years ago. She found her cancer in its early stages because she had been doing breast self-exams her whole life and knew something didn’t feel right – even when the doctor told her to not worry about it.

When do you feel most confident in your skin?

I have been coloring my hair pink for three years now as a tribute to my mom and as a symbol for breast health, and it sometimes feels like my superpower because I am so confident with it. When I first started coloring it pink, I was worried people wouldn’t take me seriously as President of an organization, but realized it is who I am today.

Did you have any insecurities growing up?

I was always a little insecure with my body growing up — and I didn’t even have social media. I have become more empowered over the years, and have learned how to manage my insecurities by working on not comparing myself to others on social media and staying focused on who I want to be, rather than what society says I should be.

I also remember being told I couldn’t play kickball at a very young age because I was a girl, and that helped fuel the fire for the feminist I am today.

Who/what has shaped you to be the person you are today?

Although my mom is always my inspiration, the loss of my mom has shaped my life in the most drastic way. Her loss taught me a lot about what is most important in life and that it is possible to find joy, even during the most difficult times.

What are your proudest accomplishments?

Reaching the milestone of educating over one million students on breast self-exams with our Daisy Wheel, and giving a TEDx Talk.

What impact do you want to leave on the world?

I want to make breast self-exams simple, appropriate, and routine for everyone.

What's next for you?

Spearheading the development of a Daisy Wheel app! This will allow us to reach more people, more effectively!

How do you stay balanced?

I stay balanced by taking weekly oil painting classes. I started taking them when I moved to NYC last spring, and it has become therapy to me. It is the only consistent part of my week, and totally the highlight.

What's your favorite ThirdLove bra and why?

The 24/7 Classic T-Shirt Bra is 100 percent my favorite bra of all time. I forget I am even wearing a bra sometimes when it’s on!

Tell us your ThirdLove Story.

After seeing ThirdLove’s open letter to Victoria’s Secret in the New York Times this fall, I couldn’t help but feel the urge to stand behind your brand and to support your voice. There was one occasion in a classroom where a student said she didn’t perform breast self-exams because she was ashamed of her body. It was disheartening to hear that her deep-rooted body image issues were getting in the way of her health. ThirdLove’s messaging empowers women, is inclusive and helps women appreciate and love their body as it is. I feel empowered in my ThirdLove bra.

Your ad and messaging led me to order three bras — the comfiest bras I have ever worn in my life. Especially the Classic T-Shirt Bra! Seriously, whoa! I didn’t even realize HOW uncomfortable my previous bras were — I will never go back.

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